GWENT teenager Liam Angel looks set to follow in the footsteps of Regan Poole after being added to the Newport County AFC first team squad ahead of Saturday’s big kick-off.

County begin their League Two campaign at Cambridge United and Angel, who only turned 16 in March, could get a taste of the big time.

Like Poole, who established himself in the first team last season at the age of 16, Angel was released by Cardiff City and the Bluebirds loss looks like being County’s gain.

Angel joined the Exiles academy earlier this year after Cardiff opted not to offer the young defender a scholar’s contract despite his achievements with the Wales under-16s side.

The former Pontllanfraith Comprehensive pupil, who was Cardiff under-16s skipper, was a key part of the national side that won the prestigious Victory Shield in November last year – the first time Wales had lifted the trophy outright since 1949.

Angel scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over England in Bangor before Wales beat Scotland 2-1 in Perth and Northern Ireland 2-0 in Ballymena.

And, having joined the County first team in training this week, his talent has caught the eye of Exiles boss Terry Butcher – a man who knows a good defender when he sees one.

“We’ve added Liam Angel to the squad for Saturday so we will have 18 players,” said Butcher, capped 77 times by England in central defence.

“I like him; he’s got a sweet left foot for a defender and he’s a good talker as well.”

Angel joins Poole, Aaron Collins, Kieran Parselle, Tom-Owen Evans and Lewis Bamford as youngsters released by rival clubs and in contention to feature for County at Cambridge this weekend.

“These young players who have been released by Cardiff and other clubs have done well for us and it just shows you that if you get a second chance you can take it,” said Butcher.

“A lot of players don’t get to be professionals at the club where they started but they get a good grounding and education and it can click elsewhere.”

Butcher, who has named Mark Byrne as his new skipper, added: “I’ve been really impressed with all the players who were here last year, including the younger ones.

“The ones we have inherited are a good group of players and with the ones we’ve brought in as well it is a good mix.

“They really are a hard working bunch. We talked about that work ethic at the start of pre-season and they’ve taken that on board.

“That is what League Two is all about for me – if you’ve got that work rate then you’ve got half a chance.”

County have announced that the home games against York City on September 5 and Carlisle United on February 13 will now kick-off at 1pm.